25 / 02 / 13

What is it, what does it do and how do we get it right?

Branded cow

History tells us that the word brand derives from an old Norse word 'brandr' meaning to burn, hence branding cattle enabled people to claim ownership. Fair enough. Its modern context and usage though tends to tie us up in knots - brand equity, brand engagement, brand expression, brand this and brand that and all said and done most people think it's a logo!

Just to clarify, here are the definitions:

  • The brand: How your audience perceives your corporate image as a whole
  • The identity: The visual components that form part of your overall brand
  • The logo: An icon or wordmark that identifies your business.

Put simply, your brand is an expression of everything you say and everything you do - the promises your business make. Not something you can buy I'm afraid, your brand value exists in the mind of your customer. It differentiates you from your competitors, it's how your customers remember, recognise and come to trust you. 

Getting it right:
Clearly, defining and getting the brand right is essential to business success. Defining your brand takes a lot of critical self analysis, asking probing, difficult questions that little by little reveal who you are and explore who you'd like to be. It's a long hard look in the mirror that starts you off in a journey of self discovery.

These are the type of questions that we like to ask:

  • What does success mean to you, what's your company's mission?
  • What do you do, what are the benefits and features of your products or services?
  • What do your current customers think of your company?
  • How would you like to be perceived?
  • Who are your current customers? What demographic would you like to attract?
  • What differentiates you from your competitors?
  • What's your business personality? Contemporary, traditional, playful, serious, upmarket, cheap as chips!

What's the point?
Defining and implementing a consistent brand image through tone of voice, visual styling and essentially keeping the promises that you've made to your customer leads to a strong brand equity and this has a real correlation with your bottom line. The customer perception as a trustworthy company allows them to select your product or services above your competitor and/or allow you to charge top dollar for the privilege!

Some simple guidelines:
Put in the effort to clarify who you are. Understand your customer - both current and prospective. Develop a memorable, easily identifiable visual system and be consistent with how you deliver it. Most importantly be true to the brand and keep your promises.